All children are entitled to a place in their local school. Research shows that disabled students in regular classrooms do better than children in special education in maths, literacy, friendships, communication and behavior.
IHC believes that:
- The Ministry of Education need to play a greater leadership role in helping schools to develop inclusive practices
- All teachers should be trained and have ongoing professional development in teaching children and young people with disabilities
- The current dual education policy framework should be replaced with a single education policy which meets the needs, rights and interests of disabled children and young people
- Principals and Boards of Trustees must be supported by the Ministry of Education to adopt whole school programmes on inclusion so that disabled children and other minority groups of children experience quality education and social outcomes
- ORS funding criteria must be reviewed urgently
- There must be an independent accountability mechanism established to respond to concerns about disabled children and young people’s access to the curriculum and participation in school life.
What is IHC doing?
- Campaigning for the right of all intellectually disabled children to attend their local school
- Supporting families to challenge schools that won’t include their child
- Supporting networks of key groups and individuals who promote inclusive education
- Creating and responding to opportunities to raise awareness about inclusive education as a right for all children
- Funding quality research and providing information about the benefits of an inclusive education system
- Providing information for parents and community groups on navigating the education system.
Join us/take action:
- Read the NZ Educational Institute’s ‘Charter Schools’ Presentation
- Read the Call to Action for Children 2011
- Read the Code for New Zealand schools developed by IHC
- Join the Inclusive Education Action Group
- Read about our Education complaint to the Human Rights Commission
- Read the research Learning Better Together IHC commissioned
- Order our best practice DVD which highlights schools in New Zealand that are working hard to achieve inclusive education for all children
- Stand up for the rights of children with intellectual disability to attend their local early childhood centre and school
- Find out how to be an advocate in your local community by reading the IHC Advocacy Toolkit.
Twins stand shoulder to shoulder
Levi and Olivia Jeffery are eight-year-old twins who are sticking together, no matter what.
Levi is blind and has autistic tendencies. And Olivia is ready to go into bat when she sees her brother being treated unfairly. But she needs help to do that.
When the twins turned five and were ready for school two Hamilton primary schools refused to enrol Levi. Their mother, Maxine, was stunned. She and her husband Keith were determined that Levi and Olivia would go to the same school.
“I started Olivia six months before him, so she wasn’t going to be known as ‘the blind boy’s sister’.” But when it came time for Levi to start, the school said that unless he came with full teacher-aide support, he couldn’t be enrolled. Maxine said a second principal told her that if he accepted Levi, then other parents would remove their children.
The refusal to enrol Levi disrupted the education of both children and caused stress to the whole family, in particular Olivia, who Maxine says became very anxious because of it.
In the end Olivia left her school and she and Levi started together the following year, aged 6, at Woodstock Primary School, in Hamilton.
“We wanted our twins to be together. They were born together – they were only a minute apart. That was the reason we fought,” Maxine says.
“And the sad thing about it is that I am going to have the same thing when they go to intermediate and I am going to have the same thing when they start high school. I am resigned to it.”
Olivia too is getting ready for the fight. “She has already told me that I am not going to put her in a single sex school because she is going to be there to look after him.”
To report problems enrolling a child with a disability in school call the IHC Advocacy team on – phone 0800 442 442 and press 2